World Tag League night 9 (December 11) Preview

Last bouts before Sendai final

Sunday December 11 will see the final matches of World Tag League take place before the top two teams advance to Sendai’s tournament decider in Sendai. With multiple teams still alive, and leaders Aussie Open keeping a tense watching brief, here’s how situations are looking this weekend. 

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Main event: Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (6-2) vs TMDK (Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste) (6-2)

 Winners advance

Bishamon and TMDK’s 12 point status means that this main event will see the winners advance to Sendai, the only wrinkle in the event of an LIJ and Bishamon win being the potential of a three way final with Aussie Open rather than a direct tag. Indeed, should TMDK get to 14, wins over both Aussie Open and LIJ mean that they would be top point scorers in their first World tag League, and first Japanese tour in well over half a decade. Quite the accomplishment, but one they can only celebrate with a win over Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI. 

Bishamon’s bonds only grow stronger through competition, and saw them to last year’s trophies. With a history over back to back winners in this tournament, can Goto and the Headhunter put themselves in a position to repeat the glories of Great Bash Heel and SANADA and EVIL? For now, Sunday’s main event awaits. 

7th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) (6-2) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) (2-6)

Tag record: 1-0 EVIL & Yujiro

EVIL & Yujiro are mathematically eliminated

 LIJ advance with a win

After Tetsuya Naito and SANADA worked from behind to rack up their sixth win Friday in Kochi, the stars were aligned for the perfect LIJ story. One more win to make it into the World tag League finals in Sendai, and then on to Wrestle Kingdom… with SANADA’s former partner and Naito’s original pareja EVIL in the opposite corner. After being a laughing stock for the vast majority of WTL, Yujiro and EVIL reminded Yano and Tanahashi on Friday that they can be a very dangerous threat. Nobody would like to spoil Naito and SANADA more than EVIL. Indeed, this is a perfectly on brand LIJ story, but is it one that ends in triumph, or tragedy?

6th Match Be-Bop Tag Team (Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi) (4-4) vs United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) (4-4)

Tag record: 1-0 Toru & Hiroshi

Toru and Hiroshi’s second season together ended in heartbreak Friday as EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi put paid to Be-Bop Tag Team’s hopes of reaching the final. Instead they must now refocus on ending the league with a positive record, something Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare also strongly desire. Now that there are only three NJPW cards remaining on the 2022 calendar after Sunday, the frank realities of a declining number of sports at Wrestle Kingdom have to be a concern, and the importance of making a big impact is dramatically increased. 

5th Match: Mechanical Bulls (Gabriel Kidd & Alex Coughlin) (1-7) vs Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) (-)

 After a hot start to their campaign, Suzuki-Gun tanked in the middle and final thirds of this year’s league, frustration only mounting with each loss as they became more and more destructive. Suzuki has made ominous whispers about something big for Suzuki-Gun to be revealed in Sendai, but in the meantime, they want to break their five match losing streak, while Gabriel Kidd and Alex Coughlin want to add an impressive win to their resumes.

4th Match: Clark Connors, Ryusuke Taguchi, Master Wato & Tomoaki Honma vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Titan)

Eight man action will see Wild Hips back opposite Titan and BUSHI after a neail biter earlier in Super Junior Tag League for the LIJ side. Taguchi will also be joined by his Six or Nine partner Master Wato as well as Tomoaki Honma for what could be a Taguchi Japan affair against an LIJ quartet.

3rd Match: Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI) vs BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori, Ace Austin & Gedo)

BULLET CLUB once again meet Suzuki-Gun tonight. Taiji Ishimori has said that El Desperado has lacked his trademark fire in recent tag previews, causing Desperado to spit back that he would take everything the champion ‘think(s) belongs to you’. Another tussle in the struggle for power takes place Sunday.

2nd Match: Ryohei Oiwa & Oskar leube vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)

If TMDK and LIJ both win, Aussie Open are eliminated

Originally slated to face Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens tonight before they were forced to withdraw from the tournament, Aussie Open could only post their score in Kochi Friday and hope for the best. Heading into the night with a significant four point cushion, things didn’t end the way they’d hoped, a loss to TMDK meaning their spot in the finals is by no means secured. All they can do is wait to see what happens; in the meantime they’ll be happy to take their minds off the situation as they take down some Young Lions.

1st Match: Kosei Fujita & Bad Luck Fale

First up in Himeji, Bad Luck Fale will put another Young Lion to a singles test. After his own students Oskar Leube and Yuto Nakashima stepped to Fale’s plate, how will Noge’s Kosei Fujita fare?